10:30 p.m. – I’ve had a couple people offer suggestions for ways to stay entertained, or how to entertain little kids, during Hurricane Irene. A columnist for Johnston Patch has 12 tips here, none of which involved the landfill.
Looking for some other perspectives on Hurricane Irene? Here are some other outlets I like to check for information:
- The Facebook page for The South County Independent. The Independent has been updating frequently for the past two days, and they’re going to be continuing to update during and after the storm as well.
- The Facebook account of Fred Campagna, the meteorologist for ABC 6. Fred has a running dialogue with people on his Facebook account, so if you do have a question about the storm or weather, he normally answers it fairly quickly. You know, assuming he isn’t on the air.
- The Providence Journal’s 7 to 7 Newsblog. For a statewide perspective, check out the Projo’s newsblog. While the depth of one any community past Providence can be lacking, they provide a good overview of what’s going on in the state, and what’s going on in state officers.
- WPRI’s Closings list, via AAA. While most people know to check here for cancelations when it’s snowing, this list is actually maintained throughout the year. The Prout School has already canceled classes on Monday, for example.
- Rhode Island Evacuation Maps. We’ve posted Narragansett’s several times, but if you’re worried about relatives in other areas, here is a handy link. (Thanks to New England Multimedia for sharing!)
- The Twitter account for Hurricane Irene. Some brevity can always be good in pressure situations. Irene has some funny tweets, such as, “You wouldn't believe the contract I signed with the battery and bottled water companies last week. I am set for life.”
5:40 p.m. – Patrick Luce was there for the 5 p.m. press conference with RIEMA. He said there wasn’t anything substantially new, but passed along these notes:
- The Jamestown and Pell bridges will be closed the first time winds reach 70 miles per hour, which is expected as early as Saturday night or Sunday morning, according to Rhode Island State Police Col. Steven O'Donnell. People in Jamestown need to make arrangements early or they'll be stuck.
- O'Donnell asked all residents to remain off the roads during the storm.
- Military aircraft is being evacuated out of Quonset, according to Adjutant General Kevin McBride. The airfield is low-lying and could be subject to flooding.
- Tim Horan, the regional president of National Grid in Rhode Island, said workers are standing by to respond to outages. While he had no estimate on the number of homes National Grid expects will go dark, Horan said, "It could be significant."
Pat will be back at the EMA headquarters on Saturday morning for the latest update.
4:10 p.m. – According to Narragansett Town Manager Grady Miller, they want residents to be prepared and not panicked for when Irene hits on Sunday night.
“We’re encouraging them to use common sense,” he said. “The key here is protection of life, and we’re very serious about people trying to seek shelter, especially if they’re in an area that’s going to be in the worst part of the storm.”
Miller reiterated that the town would be evacuating from low-lying areas near the shore. (For a full list, see the notice below provided by the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce, or the attached PDF.) He also stressed that they were trying to cut down on traffic as much as possible Sunday.
“We’re going to have an officer stationed [at intersections near the water] first thing Sunday morning, and we’re also going to block the Pier area so that people can’t take the side streets to the seawall,” he said. “Those [water views] tend to be attractive nuisances for people.”
Miller added that there would be “very limited access to Point Judith,” primarily to just local residents.
Narragansett Police Chief Dean Hoxie will be meeting with officers on Saturday to determine staffing for Sunday, Miller said. All vacation time for officers has been canceled.
Miller and other department heads will be meeting at town hall at 3 p.m. Saturday to formulate a final emergency plan based on the latest weather data. After Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee declared a state of emergency, Narragansett Town Council President Glenna Hagopian signed an emergency decree for the town at about 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Town workers were currently securing assets around town, Miller said. Employees at town hall made sure anything that could be damaged by flood waters – computers, files and other paperwork – were elevated off the ground.
“As far as properties outside of the facilities, we’re also going about and trying to remove things like trash can barrels from the beach and the parks, picnic tables, any of those type of items that can cause more damage by being where they are.”
Miller encouraged anyone affected by the evacuation order to make plans sooner rather than later.
“We’re encouraging people to, rather than waiting until 10 a.m., to leave earlier if they wish to do that, so that we don’t have a traffic tie-up or something like that,” he said.
He reiterated that pets should be brought to the South Kingstown shelter on Asa Pond Road, which will be open at 8 a.m. Sunday.
As far as the storm itself, Miller said the latest projections he saw had it making landfall on Sunday morning.
“It’s going to start with the storm in the morning, and then it’s going to get progressively worse as the day goes on Sunday,” he said. “We’re worried about a couple different things, one is the flooding. And then obviously, there is the wing damage to structures and power lines and telephone lines.”
2:25 p.m. – First things first: If you’re looking for tips to stay safe in the hurricane, or for the proposed evacuation map, you can check our previous story here. I’ve also re-attached the PDF of the evacuation map to this story.
Deb Kelso of the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce has issued the following advisory, which does a nice job of summing things up:
- Narragansett evacuations are mandatory now. You must leave by 10 a.m. Sunday, and they include but are not limited to Harbor Island, Great Island, Jerusalem, Sand Hill Cove, Breakwater Village and Bonnet Shores.
- Emergency shelters: If you live south of Sprague Bridge, your shelter is Narragansett High School. If you live north of Sprague Bridge, your shelter is the Wickford Middle School.
- Pets are NOT ALLOWED at the emergency shelters! Please bring all pets to the animal shelter on Asa Pond Road in South Kingstown.
- Narragansett Town Beach will be CLOSED as of 6 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, there will be limited access for staff and town officials.
- All state beach facilities will be closed on Sunday. The Block Island Ferry will stop service at a to-be-determined time on Saturday, and re-open on Monday. All Matunuck businesses will be closed by 6 p.m. Saturday.
- To report an electrical problem with National Grid, call (800) 465-1212. To report a natural gas issue with National Grid, call (800) 870-1664. The town officies can be reached at 789-1044, and if you have a medical, fire or police emergency, please call 911.
At Patch, we will continue to monitor the situation. Patrick Luce was at press conference when Gov. Lincoln Chafee declared a state of emergency – You can read his story and watch video here. For tips on boating safety, you can click here.
I took a drive around town earlier today, and so far, there aren’t many signs of the impending storm. I didn’t see any houses with plywood, but we still are a day out. Homeowners – How are you protecting your property? Are you already built up with storm windows and other safety features after the flooding of last year?
I’ve gotten reports from workers at several local stores saying that they are running low on things like bottled water and D-batteries, but it seems to vary from location to location. Don’t be afraid to reach out to neighbors and family members. Pooling items and resources can help reduce the strain on everyone.
I did notice a lot of people with MA and NY license plates leaving town. I’m not sure if they’re worried about their houses back home, or simply deciding to get out of town before the storm comes. Also, this won’t surprise everyone, but there were long lines at several liquor stores in town.
We’re scheduled to check back in with Narragansett Town Manager Grady Miller a little after 3 p.m. He was meeting with department heads after the RIEMA press conference, which was held shortly after 1 p.m. We will be updating once we have a chance to talk with Miller.